Florida Outdoor Beer Festival Survival Guide

As Tampa and the greater craft beer community begin to brace for Tampa Bay Beer Week and the events, festivals, bottle releases, and more, there appears to be a plethora of great beer lined up for the entire week. Knowing that many of these events will be outdoors and that many great beers will be available, here are a few tips for surviving outdoor events in the aptly named Sunshine State.


1. Thou shalt designate a driver. Beers will be consumed, and no one needs to get hurt by that decision. Know personal and legal limits. No one ever wants to throw up in a Port-O-Let. The coolest person could be the designated driver, plus he or she counts as a +1 and can still buy bottles. Have someone who agrees to provide a safe ride, in case overindulgence occurs. This also applies to Uber/ Lyft, except they generally don’t buy bottles with you.

2. Thou Shalt be cool and drink water. Florida is unforgiving and so are big beers. Anyone who makes fun today will be envious tomorrow. Guaranteed.

Outdoor beer pic3. Thou shalt dress appropriately. This is Florida. Nothing says “I’m from out of town” like winter camouflage or long cotton sleeves. No matter what, it will be hot, it will be rainy, or both. That’s just how Florida works. This goes for sunscreen, too. Even if you don’t use it a lot or if you think the smell interferes with the beer, the sun is still shining when it’s cloudy and the Florida sun is particularly relentless at a beer festival because sun is not the first thing on everyone’s mind.

4. Upon entering the event, thou shalt get the lay of the land. Where are the must-try brewers? Where is the super-limited beer that will have a line around the block in ten minutes? Where will bottles be sold? Where should I end up thirty minutes before the bottles are released?

5. Thou shalt eat something. Beer and food go so well together, and food limits the absorption of alcohol.

6. Thou shalt bring cash. Even as more festivals and events make way for using credit cards, cash is still king and is faster than waiting for a credit card machine. And cash obtained beforehand has no ATM fees. The cash line always definitely every time moves faster than the credit line. Unless waiting in a line is a preferred pastime.

7. Thou shalt not stress if some beers don’t get sampled this time around. This is the case every time. It is impossible to sample every beer at every event (and that’s not a challenge.) Every person does not get to try every beer, and the sun comes up the next morning. Every time.

8. Thou shalt not get in the way of the beer flow.  If you want to talk to the people pouring, simply step to the side. Some people want to talk. Some just want to get beer and move on. It’s considerate not to clog the space where others can get a pour of beer.

9. Thou shalt charge thy cell phone and bring an extra charger.  You can also download a beer app to tease your friends with or look up unknown beer. Apps like Untappd  will help you look up beers you haven’t heard of (seen the tap list yet?). They will also help taunt your friends who are not able to go to the festival by allowing you to post the beers you’re drinking and their logos right to Facebook. Then next year they will know better than to turn down an invite.

10. Thou shalt have fun and don’t impede anyone else’s fun. Everyone knows someone who can be “that person,” so be considerate to everyone there. Everyone in the crowd is on the same ride; no need to make it unpleasant for others. Beer events are community events and are best enjoyed with lots of people.